Moran, Tony (Halloween)


Tony Moran was one of six different people that shared in playing the role of Michael Myers in the John Carpenter classic, Halloween. When people think of who played the role of Michael, they usually think of Nick Castle, but he was just part of it. Tony Moran is and will always be the face of Michael Myers because it was his face that was revealed when Jamie Lee Curtis tore the Shape’s mask off in the film.

So what is so special about Tony Moran and why are we talking about him twenty-seven years later? Well, he has become one of the most mysterious and elusive characters the series has ever encountered and just a few years after the film Tony disappeared from Hollywood for good. No one knew what became of him or where he was. Halloween fans have searched for him for years and, as I found out in this interview, some did find him but didn’t know it. He is a man that likes his privacy and we should all respect that.

So how did I find him? That’s a story for another day but let’s just say he was finally ready to be reintroduced to the fans of Halloween and share his experiences with them.

He invited me to his office during lunch and escorted me to a conference room where we sat down to talk Halloween.

Sean Clark: So how did you get involved with Halloween?

Tony Moran: I was starting to act when I was about 19 years old. I actually started when I was about 9 but I quit after one commercial because I hated it. So I got back into acting when I was 19 or 20 years old and I had an agent who was my little sister’s agent. (His little sister by the way is Erin Moran, who played Joanie on “Happy Days”) She had called me up for an interview and actually apologized. She said, “Well the only thing I got right now is this B horror flick interview for you and you would play a psycho”. That was all I knew. I didn’t know about a mask or anything like that. She gave me the interview time about three days before the interview. If I remember correctly it was on a Friday at about 8:30 in the morning. So I knew three days ahead of time, and I was really taking the acting seriously so I didn’t sleep for three day on purpose. I made myself not sleep. I didn’t shower, didn’t shave, and didn’t wash my hair just so I would be beyond cranky. I wore really torn up dirty clothes and hiking boots. I go to the interview and it was in a really run down part of Hollywood. Honest to God truth it was just like you see in the movies. It was a rickety wood staircase going up to an office above a business with pealing paint on the walls. I walked in and there is a guy on my right who is in a suit and clean cut who was the producer and then he introduced me to a guy across the desk that had a ponytail down his back and he said, “This is John Carpenter the director of the movie”.

SC: Do you remember who the producer was?

TM: Yeah it was Irwin Yablans. So I looked at this guy and I knew it was a B flick and it was like a $300,000 budget, but I had been sleeping on my buddy’s couch in North Hollywood and I needed the money. My agent said, “Oh well Jamie Lee Curtis is going to be in it”. Jamie Lee Curtis? Who’s that? I didn’t know at the time, but I did know who Donald Pleasence was. So I shook their hands and sat down and threw my leg up in the air with these steal tipped hiking boots and slammed them on the table and yelled, “Where’s the coffee?!!” It scared them to death and made them jump. By that afternoon I got a call that I got the job.

SC: When you were hired were they already filming?

TM: Yes they were already filming in a house off of Sunset.

SC: When was the last time you saw the film?

TM: You know I haven’t seen the whole film in years. Years and years, but when I met my wife her daughter wanted to see it. Then last time I saw bits and pieces of it because my little daughter, my 4-year-old daughter was watching it and she loves it. That was last Halloween.

SC: Now from what scene are you actually in the film? Tommy Lee Wallace played Myers in the scene busting through the closet after Laurie and then next is the famous scene where Myers sits up and turns his head.

TM: That wasn’t me.

SC: So basically you came in from the point where you began to choke Laurie?

TM: Exactly.

SC: Then up until what point?

TM: Then I get shot. If you notice when the first shot happens, that was actually me. I was born like a natural athlete and I flew myself back. They didn’t have any prop to do it for me. Then, in the bedroom where he shoots me five more times that was me, as well.

SC: So basically the only scene Jim Winburn did was the shot from behind of Myers falling correct?

TM: Right.

SC: So who was that lying out on the grass at the end, was that you?

TM: No, that wasn’t me.

SC: The scene where you choke Laurie was a very physical scene; did you ever find yourself taking it a bit too far? Getting into character maybe?

TM: (Laughs) Actually that is something I haven’t thought about over all these years, but it is true. Being in that kind of character with a mask on, you do have to portray that kind of violence and stuff without seeing your face, so you have to have tenseness in your arms and fingers and all of that. I do remember that it was really something I had to pay attention to. I was almost glad I had a mask on because it was worrisome at a couple of moments because there was a couple of takes we had to do. But you are right, that was interesting.

SC: Anyone who has every worn a rubber mask knows it isn’t any fun to have it pulled off of your head.

TM: Right.

SC: How uncomfortable was it having Jamie pull the mask off of you and how many takes did you have to do to get it right?

TM: If I remember correctly I think we did that four or five times. What I did that was suggested to me was I put Vaseline in my hair. The only problem with that was after I was done filming, I had to get the Vaseline out, so I used apple cider vinegar or what ever it was. It stunk like crazy.

SC: There have been long on going debates between the hard-core fans about how many different masks were used in the film. There is photographic proof that there were at least two Myers masks on set. Did you happen to see more than one mask on set or were you ever given a choice of which one to wear?

TM: I didn’t have a choice, they just gave me one, but I recall there being two or three. There might have been three if I remember correctly. I think they did that because of all of the different head sizes of the different people playing Michael Myers in different scenes.

SC: The other mystery is the whereabouts of the masks today. Do you have any idea what happened to them?

TM: (Laughs) No but I get that question asked all of the time. “Did you keep the mask? Did you keep the mask?” People don’t understand that back then that movie was really low budget and it was really low budget for a reason, so they weren’t giving away anything. I wish I could have had one, but at the time I thought it was just some horror flick that would be out for a month and that would be that.

SC: At the time did you have any clue that you were wearing the face of William Shatner?

TM: No. I didn’t even know that either!

SC: When did you find out?

TM: I saw it on one of those A & E Channel things. I may have known it back then or overheard it but didn’t pay attention. I really didn’t know. I was like, “You gotta be kidding me! Really?” And why William Shatner? It’s really bizarre.

SC: William Shatner is the face of evil.

TM: (Laughs) Yeah, I guess so.

SC: So what did you try to bring to the character yourself? Did you watch any of the footage or dallies on set of the other actors beforehand?

TM: No. I just did my own thing. I didn’t get to see any of that stuff. It was interesting; when I interviewed and got to the job, it was just like they just knew that I would pull this thing off. It wasn’t a real major thing, but they just knew that maybe anyone with half a brain could pull it off (laughs).

SC: Did you have to get yourself into character to play the role?

TM: I did, I absolutely did. What I will never forget though is the girlfriend I had at the time; About two or three days after I was finished she said that I was different and that maybe I should just think about going back in me and get rid of it, just pay attention to it maybe. And I remember that I had nightmares for two or three nights and stuff like that. It took me a good week to get over it. I took it really, really seriously. It was my big first thing so I took it really seriously.

SC: When your face is revealed it appears that you are wearing some sort of prosthetic appliance. Can you explain what that was?

TM: On my eye. Michael Myers got stabbed by Laurie with the hanger, and it was really weird because there was really no time for it to heal and it looked like a prosthetic that my eye had been messed up for years or something.

SC: In the film it almost appears like it is some sort of deformity or something.

TM: Yeah, but supposedly it was from the hanger. It was just a prosthetic on my left eye. They stretched it kind of down and stuff like that.

SC: Have you ever been recognized on the street as the face of Michael Myers?

TM: No. I’ve gotten recognized for other things though like an episode of ‘The Waltons”, “Chips” and “Hart to Hart”; a bunch of other stuff but never Halloween. In fact I told some of the people I work with that you were coming today and I assumed people knew because one guy I work with here knew about it and he blabbed it, because I don’t talk about it to anybody. I specifically tell people not to bring it up because it’s embarrassing because I get shy and stuff. So I’m talking to this girl I work with and I say, “You’re not going to believe this but this guy wants to come out and interview me, blah, blah, blah.” And she says, “About what?” So I told her and she goes, “What?!!” So they freaked out and half of them don’t even want to talk to me right now because they are like, “You scared me, you scared me. Don’t talk to me anymore.” (Laughs)

SC: In an interview Nick Castle described you as having an angelic face and that was why they hired you for the part of the unmasking. How do you feel about that?

TM: I didn’t know that when I got hired, and when I heard that I thought it was one of the funniest things in the world because nobody has ever said that before about my face. But then I saw a picture of me and John Carpenter in my jumpsuit without the mask on the A & E special and I was looking at my face, I don’t have many pictures of me when I was younger, and I was saying, “Wow, that is amazing.” So I kind of see what he means about that but I haven’t quite grabbed on to that concept.

SC: Of all of the people connected to the series it seems that you have always been the most mysterious because no one has ever know what had become of you after the film.

TM: Yeah, I’ve thought about that. It’s not anything to do with being ashamed or anything, it’s just that getting that kind of attention I just don’t want to get. It’s like when I was in acting. I wasn’t in acting because I liked the attention, I just liked acting. I thought it was a blast. Everything else I couldn’t stand.

SC: Do people believe you when you tell them you played Michael Myers or do they just think you’re full of shit?

TM: (Laughs) That’s the thing, I never usually bring it up. Someone else will bring it up like this guy Randy who tells my co-workers and they have a bloody fit, but in a good way. Some will say, “Nah, you didn’t do that. That wasn’t you.” And I have to go, “Well yeah, it was.” But I never bring it up it is always someone else. I think it is hilarious.

SC: There was a rumor that your salary on the film was only twenty-five dollars.

TM: No it wasn’t twenty-five dollars. I heard that too. I think it was two hundred and fifty dollars.

SC: Did you ever get residuals?

TM: Yeah, I get residuals.

SC: Has it been lucrative?

TM: (Laughs) No. It’s tiny. Five dollars here, nine dollars there…but three or four years ago the “Ally McBeal” show called me up and they wanted to use clips from Halloween of me, and they had to get my permission to use my name, and they paid me. It was some episode where they had a sleep over and all of the girls and they decided they wanted to play horror movie on TV. Some other guy did a documentary on horror flicks and they used clips and had to pay me for that.

SC: Did the “Ally McBeal” thing end up being more money than what you made on the film?

TM: Yes it was. The first check I got from the “Ally McBeal” thing was eight hundred bucks. It’s hilarious.

SC: In Halloween II they used that footage of you in there, too…

TM: Yeah, I get paid on that too. I was working at a supermarket on a graveyard shift and I remember during the time and my agent called me up and said that they wanted to use me in Halloween II but they just wanted to use my name and had to get my permission and such. So I said, “Sure, no problem.”

SC: Were you ever asked to reprise the role?

TM: Nope.

SC: Would you have if asked?

TM: For sure.

SC: You know they are going to start working on Halloween 9 pretty soon.

TM: They are?

SC: Yeah.

TM: I can’t believe that. That’s hilarious.

SC: What if they contacted you today and wanted to use your face again to be the face of Michael Myers some twenty-seven years later?

TM: I’d do it in a heartbeat. And I think I would be a better actor now than I was then for sure.

SC: Have you seen any or all of the Halloween films?

TM: I think I saw all of Halloween II, but it’s been so long I’m not sure. I know it was in a hospital and it blows up but that is about it. I never saw the rest. I think I saw bits and pieces of the last one too.

SC: So tell me some of your experiences with the obsessive fans.

TM: Oh my God. Dude, I mean unreal. It happens every single Halloween, every single time.

SC: Only around Halloween?

TM: Only around Halloween, and I’ve moved quite a bit. I’m unlisted and all of that. Last Halloween I got not only a letter but I got a package from somebody in Switzerland and I thought it was a joke, but this cat knew everything about me; everything. He didn’t say that he knew he had found me, but he said that he had checked every Tony Moran in Los Angeles and if is not me could I please send it back. Well I didn’t really know what to do about it because he said he was only seventeen years old or something, and that he has a group of friends that are really dedicated to horror flicks, especially Halloween. That’s usually what I hear.

There is mysticism about Halloween that you don’t get with Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street; I totally get that. There’s something about it that makes it totally unique. This kid had pictures and a four-page letter saying that they have meetings once a week, him and his buddies. The letter was written like he wasn’t seventeen though; it was written like he was a grown man. His vocabulary and phrasing sentences and things like that were very mature, and I thought maybe in Switzerland they are just smarter or something (laughs). I don’t know.

But I tell you what; I really had to think about what to do about this. Do I send it back or do I reply? For sure I wasn’t going to reply because you just never know. One of the first fan letters I got was from a girl in the Midwest, Chicago or Indiana or something like that, and she had sent a picture of herself and got into graphic detail about how she was in a play and that she bonds with me about really getting into killing people and stuff like that, and it just freaked me out.

Then I had some teenage girl in Ireland that found me online. You know I always want to think these people are good at heart, but then you get some letters that are four pages long and pictures and you start to think long and hard about what you should do. I get at least one every Halloween.

SC: Have you ever responded to any?

TM: Nope.

SC: Have you ever considered doing something to try and reach out to the fans like maybe a website?

TM: I’ve thought about it. A buddy of mine here at work has been telling me, “You gotta do a website!” so I have thought about it, but I’m really a busy guy. I got a wife, two kids, and twins on the way. I’m pretty busy. I’d like to just satisfy the fans, though. You had mentioned doing a convention, and I would do that because I understand. I think it would be a kick in the pants and great for the fans.

SC: Can you talk about what it was like working with Donald Pleasence?

TM: I liked him since The Great Escape. Before I ever met him I remember him so well from that movie, I thought he was brilliant. That was the main reason why I was so excited to do the film, because I have a real appreciation for really good acting. He was a decent guy, stuck to himself mostly. He wasn’t a real cut-up or anything like that or all that friendly, but not unfriendly, either. A really good guy. I wasn’t nervous either, just really thrilled because he was really an all time great actor.

SC: So why did you get out of acting?

TM: I got really, really tired of it. Like I said, you have to really want it. You have to really want stardom and stuff and I really wasn’t in to that. I loved to act but all of the politics and waiting in between jobs and stuff like that I didn’t want it that bad.

SC: Have you ever done anything as a joke like dress up as Michael Myers on Halloween or anything like that?

TM: (Laughs) No. People always want me to but I’ve never done it. It would be weird. No kidding, it’d be strange, in like a spooky way.

SC: Have you ever had anyone come trick or treating to your house on Halloween dressed as Michael Myers?

TM: Yes and I think it’s hilarious. I never say anything. Nope, never say anything but it happens.

SC: Do you ever think to yourself that maybe this is a fan that might know where you live?

TM: Oh yeah, there’s always that paranoia. I always think that especially if the kid is not so small, absolutely. Yeah, it’s really bizarre. You know I take my kids to go Halloween shopping for their costumes and stuff and there’s the mask right there every single time. It’s always there, and it’s usually right on the front counter. It’s always one of the favorite masks they have. I look at it (laughs) and it’s just hilarious to me.

I would like to thank Tony for taking the time to do this interview. I was able to hook him up with our good friends at Necrocomicon, and he will be making his first-ever public appearance this Saturday and Sunday, October 1st & 2nd at the Necrocomicon Convention in Los Angeles. If you want to meet Tony, I suggest you make an effort to go to the show because this very well could be your only chance.



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